Andrea wants to submit, but not to just any so-called Dom. He has to be tougher than the slum-bred bullies she grew up with. She’d given up finding a true Dom when her friend finagles her a place as a trainee in an exclusive BDSM club with the powerful Shadowlands Masters. Andrea’s thrilled…and terrified.
Forced to accept an unknown submissive into his carefully run trainee program, Master Cullen is furious. Not only is the young woman new to BDSM, but she’s unsuited to her role–armoured in leather like a Domme, she’s more liable to punch a Dom than kneel. He decides to push her right back out the door. But as he ruthlessly intimidates her, punishes her, then cuddles her, his glimpses of the woman inside the emotional armour intrigue him and her utter surrender captures his heart.
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Lean on Me is the fourth book in the Club Shadowlands series that I love so much. This is the first full length book in the series, and I am SO SO SO thankful that the author has made this switch, even if we do have to wait longer for a new book now. I feel like the longer stories enable her to include more complex plot lines, and let the romance between the hero/heroine unfold more naturally, although it is still a romance with a typical compressed timeline for falling in love.
Another benefit to longer books is that there is space to update the reader on the previous couples we have fallen in love with :)
At first, Andrea comes off as a super tough, butch female, but she has some definite insecurities that bring out all of Cullen’s protective Dom instincts. I love romance novels where both the male and the female develop and work through issues, and this is one of those books where I felt like their needs and growth were balanced.
Andrea struggles to submit, to trust, to not react with aggressiveness. Cullen has a rather ingenious method for helping her learn to control her aggressive reactions by setting her up with the other Masters in the Shadowlands.
*minor spoiler ahead*
The only concern that I had with this book was how quickly Cullen wrote Andrea off after she fell off the ladder, due to her inability to lean on others and ask for help. I understand why this is such an emotional trigger for him but I felt like he didn’t give her enough time to work on overcoming this or explain well enough why it was such a big deal to him. Even though he was there for her that night, he was so remote and closed off the next day, all “relationship over, no discussion”,
Kudos to Andrea that she was able to overcome her fears and reach out to him from the auction block because I don’t think that I would have been able to at that moment if I was in her place!
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